Mayor Lou Colosimo
Councilmembers: Roy A. Nikas, Betty P. Wheeler, Joe L. Piccolo, Steve Bringhurst, Stephen L. Denison
Vernon W. Jones (Adminis. Ass't.), Joanne Lessar
(City Recorder), Pat Larsen (Finance Director),
Others Present: Carbon County Commissioner Bill Krompel, Carbon County Commissioner Neil Breinholt, Carbon County Commissioner Mike Milovich, Carbon County Clerk/Auditor Bob Pero, Tom Alexander (Chamber of Commerce Board), John Serfustini (Chamber of Commerce Board), Kevin Ashby (Sun Advocate)
1. CARBON COUNTY COMMISSION - Discussion On Price Office Building
The City Council and Carbon County Commissioners met to discuss usage of the Price Office Building (Central School). Both entities have approved the concept for a lease agreement for the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, Carbon County Future, Carbon County Recreation, Carbon County Travel Bureau and the Community Master Plan to occupy space in the Price Office Building.
Pat Larsen presented information pertaining to the cost of utilities. The electric bill for the past month with no one occupying the building was $392. The custodians have been cleaning and painting the interior, so the majority of this bill is for heat. The gas bill runs approximately $1,600/year. The building is 12,000 square feet. The above entities would use approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the bottom floor, including the restroom areas. The utility usage was high when the Utah Department of Social Services occupied the building, as there were approximately 200 employees. Pat estimated that without any janitorial services provided by the City, the cost to maintain the building and grounds is $5,000. This includes the elevator maintenance contract. Commissioner Breinholt stated that real costs would be approximately $20,000. Carbon County Recreation and the Travel Bureau are now expending about $4,000 at their present location. It would take an additional $16,000 for them to move into the building. Councilmember Bringhurst stated that in the proposed contract, the City agrees to pay the outside maintenance, so $5,000 can be deducted.
Commissioner Breinholt stated that both the Council and Commissioners agree that there is some enhancement of having these agencies located next to each other. It could lead to doing things in a different way that could be valuable. He questioned if the added costs would justify for simply having these agencies work next together? However, there would be some hardships. As Michelle Lea would lose a full time secretary, you would need a reception center and jointly appoint someone to answer the telephones, which would add to the costs. It would be a good idea to have a joint administrator of those agencies, someone to call meetings, get the agencies together, and brainstorm the direction they are going and report to each other. Prepare a goals list, such as where they are going on community development. He felt that if these agencies are simply moving together and pay more, he has a hard time accepting this. However, if something new is tried, such as bringing the communities together, he would go along with it. If the communities do not get together, it will not work. This has either a chance to be real costly, not very beneficial, or a chance to be one of the most powerful community development tools we have. He is excited about the possibilities of doing something in a new way. However, you have the overall expenses of running that agency, aside from utilities. They need a budget, the need to know who will take care of the joint secretaries and the things that need to be set up. They will need to know who will handle the general remodeling costs, how will it be handled efficiently, how will you pay for a Community Development Director, and who is the oversight board? If it is approached in this regard, you have a chance to really do something.
Commissioner Breinholt discussed the possibility of moving Dennis Dooley into the position of administrator of the above entities, and dedicate half of his time to Carbon County Future. However, this may not work and you may need to hire someone else to work full time. Commissioner Milovich agreed with Commissioner Breinholt. If you place the four agencies together, you are just increasing the costs. He doesn't feel they would accomplish anymore than they are doing now. However, if you put in the above element, and he/she is working on things simultaneously for Helper City or Price City, etc., there is something to possibly gain, such as grants or items such as the extension of the parkway. Or as discussed previously, working on money through the Forest Service, Division of Wildlife Resources, etc. Such a person coordinating efforts throughout the whole county can make this thing roll. Before it can work, it will need the City's support. As previously stated, Mayor Colosimo referred to a statement made that the County would provide half the salary for a County planner. Commissioner Breinholt stated that was correct, and suggested Dennis Dooley. Because of his background on the master plan, grant writing and the community development side, he would be able to do this. He would have to dedicate half of his time and we wouldn't have to come up with new cash. However, this may not work, we may need a full time person.
Commissioner Milovich felt that this should all take place by June, as it will take from now to June to plan it. It doesn't mean we can't move the people in, but this whole project is not going to go unless we have something else to tie it all in. We may need to look for a professional person as it is a big plan. It may turn out to be a full time job. Mayor Colosimo asked John Serfustini what his ideas were? Mr. Serfustini stated that they should be together, not so much for the agency's streamlining, but for the citizens and tourists we serve. He doesn't see the effectiveness of the Travel Council where it is now. Tourists can't find it and their travel questions are being answered by the Chamber of Commerce and museum staff at the rate of 1,200 to 1,600 on a good weekend. If you look at the effectiveness, it makes sense to move them to a central area. What a better place than Main Street to have a possible travel center. Commissioner Krompel stated that the restaurant and hotel owners have a real problem with the Travel Council being located in its present spot. They are supportive of the concept to relocate in close proximity to Main Street. Even though the other agencies are not in a central spot, they are somewhere on Main Street, but the Travel Council is out of the way and should be brought back on Main Street.
Mayor Colosimo feels that the Chamber can stay where they're at now if they want to, but he feels the Travel Council and Chamber should be together. A lot of people come into City Hall trying to find out where the Travel Council is. It is not as critical for Carbon Recreation. Commissioner Breinholt suggested moving the Travel Council in with the Chamber. The only reason he states that is be believes this can be worked out together without opening a huge building and spending a lot of money. Commissioner Krompel felt that this would be an improvement as far as the location goes.
Councilmember Piccolo asked why these agencies couldn't dedicate a couple of thousand dollars in their budget to move to the new location? Commissioner Milovich stated that both the Travel Council and Carbon Recreation have agreed to come up with some money. The Chamber is the only one that is funded mostly by businesses, so the rates can be changed to come up with an extra $2,000. The Chamber has a $135,000 budget, but $70,000 is the rodeo. If you get down to real figures, they have roughly a $70,000 or $80,000 budget.
Commissioner Krompel discussed the committed funds of the agencies. The Travel Council has $2,400 to commit, Carbon Recreation has $2,000 and the Chamber of Commerce has $2,000. This totals $6,000. Pat Larsen stated that all the City is asking for is half of the utilities which would be between $6,000 and $7,000. The other agency would be Carbon Future. Councilmember Nikas stated that he feels that the Chamber, Travel Council and Carbon Future should be in the same building. If you look at the $6,000 in hard cash and the original proposal, the City would pay 1/3, the County 1/3 and the agencies 1/3. Realizing that the City and the County are contributing to those agencies, this takes care of $18,000. This puts us in the ballpark of $15,000 to $20,000. Pat Larsen stated that it will not cost that much, as the City stated they would maintain the building. Councilmember Nikas reviewed the concept of a Community Development Director. It was his understanding that the County was going to hire a director. Now he is hearing it is an option. Someone was going to put together a master plan, and whether they came to Price City for support, via a Carbon Future type of board and payments, etc., somebody was going to be hired. It just so happens that now you have 3 agencies and maybe 4. He feels this is another issue to be worked on together over the next couple months. You already have a Carbon Future Board that seems to have good input from people who want to participate. The director could work under this board instead of creating a whole new board. If Dennis was able to work half of the time, perhaps Michelle Lea could take over the other half. He respects the Chamber's desire to get involved because they are very autonomous. Even though they get money from Price City and Carbon County, the Chamber has their own board of directors they answer to. This board, plus the business people, determine whether they are going to be in operation next year, and still they are willing to go into a situation where they will accept some give and take with some governmental entities helping direct what they do. He feels the three agencies need to move ahead with organization and work out the Community Development person down the road. Commissioner Breinholt stated its a lot easier to deal with when you talk in terms of $15,000 rather than $30,000 and the $42,000 estimates. Councilmember Nikas stated if it doesn't work, all the agencies will either have to increase funding or move them to another location less expensive to maintain. There may be opportunities for the City to rent out the upstairs level, which will help on these costs and other costs down the road. The City is unsure what the future holds for the rest of the building. But these people need to get together.
John Serfustini stated that he feels these agencies would be the anchor tenants that might attract other business that would fit in. The potential for renting the rest of building might offset some of the costs with private industries who want to come in. Councilmember Denison agreed with Councilmember Nikas. He would be willing to support Price City giving another $6,000 towards those costs. He asked if the County was willing to go another $6,000? Commissioner Breinholt indicated he has no problem with that. However, there are other things to consider. Michelle Lea is not excited to move. She is running full blast and has the use of Mindy Nickas, who is a full time secretary for the Commissioners. If Michelle leaves, Mindy will remain in the County offices. Carbon County Future will then run into more costs to place a secretary at the front desk when these agencies get together. Will we also work together at that point to increase our funding to handle those added costs? Michelle needs a secretary, and Carbon Future barely pays her $1,000 in travel that she uses in 3 months. Kevin Ashby recommended taking a couple weeks to decide who will go where and determine who has the extra secretarial use to meet the public. Maybe a part time person may be needed to direct traffic as they come through the door.
Councilmember Nikas stated that it is not as critical to combine Carbon Recreation with these other agencies. He asked the Commissioners if the County has room to move the Chamber and Travel Council? Commissioner Breinholt stated that he would move them in a second if they had the room. Councilmember Nikas stated that if the idea is there to move these agencies together, then we need to find the best place for them. Commissioner Breinholt stated that he likes the location of the Central School, but he is concerned over the hidden costs. What if a secretary needs to be hired to make this work out and a contributing entity pulls out of Carbon Future? It will cost more money and we need to be ready to support it. Kevin Ashby felt it might be possible to shuffle the employees we now have to cover this. Commissioner Milovich questioned if it would be a problem for these agencies to use their employees to assist Carbon Future. Commissioner Krompel suggested until this is worked out, that Michelle stay where she is. She would only have to walk across the street for her weekly meeting. Commissioner Breinholt agreed, but he asked if having the Chamber and Travel Council together is worth $12,000, or is there a better way to put the Chamber and the Travel Council together? He admits Carbon Recreation is not a player, although they are very active and there is a bunch of stuff they can help with. Commissioner Krompel felt the downtown area might benefit in terms of traffic by having Carbon Recreation located in the same place.
Thomas Alexander asked what the total utilities would come to? Pat Larsen estimated between $6,000 and $7,000. With those figures, Mr. Alexander stated that it will not cost any additional money to put these agencies together at this point. He feels it was decided a long time ago there was some value in having them together. He doesn't think anybody disagrees that a Community Development Director is a big plus to the community and needs to happen. If eventually this person is hired, a secretary will always be needed.
Councilmember Piccolo stated that a Community Director is a separate issue. He feels it is time to put these three agencies together. He feels when they get together, they will find they have some extra resources when they corroborate together. It might be beneficial for Michelle to be included. It sounds like she doesn't want to come because she is afraid she will lose something that is not there for her. If she doesn't want to be in there now, she may when she finds out how well they all work together. When all these agencies (Recreation, Chamber, Travel Council) are working well together, it will be easier to see the overview of any hidden expenses, and then calculate what will be necessary to get a planner in place. When Helper, Wellington, East Carbon and Scofield see that the concept is there and will be beneficial to them as well, it will be a good opportunity to get them involved in their share as well. Commissioner Krompel stated that the BLM and the Forest Service directors have indicated that they may be willing to provide some staffing services. These three agencies can move into the building for approximately $8,000, and they already have $6,000 to put towards it. Kevin Ashby stated that if Price City and Carbon County could each put in $9,000 each, it might be possible to hire a secretary or receptionist and get all the agencies there. Carbon County Future is a part of all this.
Councilmember Nikas recommended that all the players (Helper, Wellington, CEU, etc.) besides Price and Carbon County divide the costs. Commissioner Breinholt stated that if you leave Carbon County Future out of it and these three agencies can move in for $8,000, there is no reason that they can't pack up and move in tomorrow.
Thomas Alexander felt that Carbon Future should be included with the other agencies. They are all doing the same thing. He doesn't think people realize how much Carbon Future does. Michelle should have her own secretary because of her work load. This is a good opportunity to ask the board for funding for a secretary and also, once they are together, the Chamber could talk to their business people to contact their political constituents to help fund this. Mayor Colosimo stated that again this falls upon Price City. If they provide the maintenance, the upkeep of the building, janitorial service, and if they have to fund a secretary, its costing a lot of money. He doesn't think its fair to Price City. Commissioner Breinholt stated that it may be necessary to enter into a fairness discussion. There are a lot of parts as to what fairness is. He is not sure it is fair from the County's point of view for the type of monies they are putting into these agencies either. However, if we separate these issues and let each one of them stand on their own, and we decide we are close enough to move the 3 agencies, we will all have to vote whether we're going to give our extra portion to hire a secretary. Further, if we eventually decide on a Community Director, we will have to fund it too.
Councilmember Nikas commented that there are some times that the County should simply pay for things without coming to the cities and asking for participation. All the cities pay property taxes into this and maybe its easier to take from the County as a whole. Commissioner Breinholt stated that if its important enough to bring up and you believe you have some insight from your viewpoint of that, then its important to lay everything on the table and see if there is a fairness, an inequity, or reasons why the County would or wound not ask for some help. Councilmember Nikas felt that in situations like Carbon County Future, if thats already been predetermined and voted on, that if it is the fairest way to petition out the money and the request for money, then lets proceed in that direction. But to come back and have the two entities continue to arbitrarily give one half or one third, etc., of every project that comes along that will benefit the community as a whole, he doesn't know if its right. Commissioner Breinholt stated that Carbon County did not come up with the one third proposal. This came from the Travel Council and the agencies who want to move into the building. He thought it was a real mistake not to include the other players in community development. He thinks its an excellent time to bring everybody else on board. Everything he has said, including the governing board, included the other players. There are other issues that need to be cleared up, but it is not possible to do it tonight. Councilmember Nikas agreed that Price City and Carbon County should talk philosophically about which should be County and which should be County with assistance from the cities at another time. His issue is when the County does something, the tax payers are paying through the cities, and at some point in time, maybe it is the responsibility of the County to pay for those programs and not ask the cities to participate.
Councilmember Bringhurst stated that what if everybody agreed that it is a good idea to get the 3 agencies moved in and we could talk about Michelle later. And then what if it was decided that Community Development was important and we were going to start those steps in place in terms of what can the City and County do to get everyone involved, either go through Carbon County Future Board or form a new board. Everybody will play their part to get everyone else on board. Take some time to decide if we want to get Michelle over there, and if we do, how we are going to fund it and who is going to ask who to help fund it. Price City and Carbon County have already committed to keep Community Development in mind and move in that direction. It would be good to get Michelle over there so we are committed in that direction. These are the what ifs. We are going to get these three agencies over there and we are going to work towards getting Michelle over there. Price City and Carbon County will commit their portion of funding, and commit to pull the rest of the people together. If you want the City to be a viable part in pulling the rest of those players together, we would be willing to do that. We agree that we want this Community Development position, maybe its Dennis part time to start with or maybe its somebody full time. We've all committed that this is the direction we're going and will fund it when the time comes.
Commissioner Breinholt recommended zeroing in on the particulars agreed upon. How much money will utility costs be to move the three agencies, not counting Michelle, into the Central School building? Price City, Carbon County, and the three agencies (Chamber of Commerce, Travel Council, Carbon Recreation) committed 1/3 each, which is estimated at $8,000. Councilmember Nikas stated that outside of those utility costs, Price City has offered to take care of the exterior maintenance and janitorial service. Councilmember Bringhurst stated that if Michelle decides to move over, perhaps the other agencies can discuss amongst themselves between now and 30 or 60 days, if they agree that they can give part of their secretaries to help Michelle have a secretary in this location because it is essential to get her over there. He recommended that as you put the agencies together, make sure we are all headed in the direction of community development, and can get there in the least amount of time. Lets not lose sight of that, if in fact, thats the direction we all want to go. Councilmember Wheeler stated that we all feel that way about getting the other part in here. Lets start down at the bottom and build up to that, because this is where we are, we are all the future of Carbon County.
Commissioner Breinholt recommended that the three agencies put up their $6,000 and Price City and Carbon County split the auxiliary costs after that and monitor it for awhile and see if the $6,000 ends up to be a 1/3 or whatever. Take the $6,000, split the difference on the hard costs on utilities up front, get them in the building, take this first step and start looking at the other possibilities. Councilmember Nikas stated if the utilities end up costing less, he would not be opposed to offsetting some of that $6,000 back to those agencies. Councilmember Krompel stated that Price City and Carbon County are the major players because of their size and resources, so we are always going to be making most of the ultimate decisions on what direction we take.
Carbon County and Price City agreed to the above recommendations and the splitting of costs, and that an interlocal agreement be prepared. It was recommended that these two entities meet once a quarter to discuss various issues. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30th, at 6:00 p.m.
Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.